I’ve climbed the Himalayas. OK, technically I didn’t climb them. But I rode on the back of a motorcycle through them, I rode a bicycle through the crooked goat paths that served as streets, I walked the multitudinous steps of the temples of Nepal. Those hills seem minuscule when compared to the hills I climb everyday to find my happy place. The brief glimpse I allow myself of the mountains that surround me as I drive down the hills to Peterborough first thing in the morning, are merely mole hills compared to the majesty of the mountains I have physically encountered. So why do they seem so insurmountable sometimes? Because it is not them, but the landscape I create outside of nature, in my mind. The landscape of bills, and obligations and emotional support I should be able to offer, that has always been a deep well that I could draw on, and never see a half-full bucket at the end of the day.
These are the lessons to be learned. These are the truths to be acknowledged.
“Kathmandu is not for the country club set. Narrow, unpaved streets are lined with low shop fronts. The many-tiered dwellings above boast open windows for viewing the hustling life below.”
In September of 1982 I found myself trying to save a marriage to a man I should have just been a best friend to, instead of thinking we were life partners. Maybe that is how it ended up anyway, though we have not spoken in over thirty years. We were just kids, trying to find our way. We took a break from the monotony of life to explore a culture, since the culture we were living in, in Jakarta, wasn’t foreign enough to bring us together. At 27 years old with all the mental stimulus of life as an ex-pat, I was restless and bored, seeking to reinvent myself. Why should I wonder at the daily upheaval I seem to embrace?
In 1979 I was a twenty-four year old exercise lad at the track in Trinidad contemplating a move around the world to Jakarta. I have weathered the storms, made the moves and honored my mind when it said, “This is the direction, this is the time.” Why does it feel so hard this time? Maybe it doesn’t feel any harder than back then, maybe it feels the same, but I have become blind to the peace that comes with getting through the change?
I have my words, I have my journals, my memories that tell me exactly where I was on this day, a year ago, ten years ago, thirty years ago. And reading those yellowed pages tells me I am going to be just fine. That this path is no steeper, no rockier, no harder to climb than the paths of the past. This mountain is no greater than any I have faced. It’s all in my perspective…